Reorganisation of VECs

Education and Training Boards Act 2012 reorganises the existing Vocational Education Committees as Education and Training Boards.  It reformed governance and updates the functions of the Board to better reflect the evolution of the VECs and seeks to better reflect the evolved role of the VEC.

The Vocational Education Committees were replaced by Education and Training Boards.  Persons who were members of VECs become members of the Education and Training Board and continue in office until the next local election.

The Boards are to consult with stakeholders.  They are to perform their function having regard to government policy and in accordance with the ministerial direction.  The Minister may confer additional functions on Education and Training Boards by regulations or ministerial order.


The existing VECs were dissolved and their assets and liabilities were transferred to the new Boards

Staff are transferred in accordance with procedures laid down by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance following consultation with recognised trade unions and staff associations.  Final accounts are to be prepared in respect of the VECs.  .

The former exclusions on the application of the Unfair Dismissals Act to the officers of VECs are repealed.

The legislation provides for the continuation of matters such as suspension, enquiries and removals from office provided for under the VEC Act which were ongoing at the time of transfer.  Existing scholarships and student support awards are continued.

The Boards

The Education and Training Boards are

Cork ETB,

  • The City of Dublin ETB,
  • Galway and Roscommon ETB,
  • Limerick and Clare ETB,
  • Cavan and Monaghan ETB,
  • Donegal ETB,
  • Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB,
  • Kerry ETB,
  • Kildare and Wicklow ETB,
  • Kilkenny and Carlow ETB,
  • Laois and Offaly ETB,
  • Longford and Westmeath ETB,
  • Louth and Meath ETB,
  • Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB,
  • Tipperary ETB,
  • Waterford and Wexford ETB.


Educational and Training Boards are to provide for the establishment and maintenance of Educational and Training Board schools, centres for education and educational training facilities in their functional areas.  They are to establish and maintain such institutions at the direction of the Minister.

They are also to plan, provide, coordinate and review the provision of education and training in children detention schools, prisons and facilities maintained by other public service bodies.

They are to establish scholarships, adopt strategy statements and annual service plans.  They are to deliver training for bodies that provide funding such as SOLAS.  They are to support the provision, coordination; administration and assessment of youth work services and assess the economic efficiency and effectiveness of their functions.

Reserved to ETB Members

Certain functions are reserved to the members of the Education and Training Board as opposed to those within the power of its executive under the control of the Chief Executive Officer.  Reserved functions include

  • the change of name of the Education and Training Board;
  • appointment and suspension of the CEO;
  • establishment of a scholarship;
  • adopting strategy statements,
  • annual service plans and annual reports;
  • acceptance of gifts or becoming a trustee;
  • authorisation of attendance by members at certain events;
  • establishment and dissolution of committees and related matters;
  • receipt of reports prepared by the finance and audit committee,
  • determination of a consequent action;
  • borrowing money;  keeping of accounts; acquiring and developing of land.

The Minister may declare additional functions to be reserved functions to the Board.  The executive of the Board can assist the Education and Training Board in exercising its functions.  The members of the Education and Training Board cannot exercise executive functions.

Chief Executive and Staff

The chief executive is to exercise executive functions in accordance with the Board’s policy.  Every non-reserved function is an executive function.  The chief executive is to be appointed in accordance with procedures determined by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform/Finance or the Minister for Education with the former’s consent.  The CEOs terms of employment are determined by the ministers.

The chief executive performs the executive functions of the Board and must keep the Board informed in relation to the exercise of its function.  The executive may delegate any of his functions to a member of the Board staff.

There is provision for removal and suspension of the chief executive.  He may be removed for stated misbehaviour or where it is necessary for the effective performance by the Board of its function.  A two-thirds majority of the Board is required for suspension.  If the Board suspends the CEO, the Minister must be notified who establishes an advisory panel to report on the matter.  The Minister decides to either lift, suspend, confirm the suspension or remove the CEO.

The terms and conditions of employment of staff of the Board are determined by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance.  This provision does not apply to the members of staff of a recognised school.  Their terms of employment are dealt with separately under the Education Act.

Directions and Cooperation

The Minister may direct a Board to establish and maintain a recognised school or centre for education.  He may direct to establish, maintain a resource and education or training facility.  Each must be within the Board’s functional area.

Provision is made for cooperation by Education and Training Boards with each other in the performance of their functions.  The Minister may direct that they perform functions jointly.  The Minister must give prior notice to the Boards and consider their representations in the decision.

The Minister may request the Irish Vocational Education Association to assist Boards in the joint exercise of its functions.  This is subject to the ministerial direction.  Boards must comply with directions.

The Minister may direct an Education and Training Board to carry out functions outside its functional area.  The relevant board and the board of the other area are to be given prior notice and allowed to make representations.  Boards are required to cooperate with each other in relation to the subject matter of the direction.

The chief executive may submit a proposal for the establishment of a scholarship.  The Boards may establish a scheme with the approval of the Minister.  The legislation sets out provisions in relation to the contents of a proposal.


The chief executive of each Board is accountable to the Public Accounts Committee.  He may be required to account to other Oireachtas committees.

Each Board must prepare and make a five-year statement of strategy.  Various parties and stakeholders are to be consulted.  The designation of stakeholders is a reserved matter for the Board.  Account is to be taken of the policy and financial considerations in preparing statements.

Boards must submit an annual report to the Minister which must be laid before the Oireachtas.  It must provide details of the services provided by the Board, gifts received and other particulars which the Board considers necessary or are directed by the Minister.  The Board’s report is to be published online.

Membership of ETBs

There are to be 10 local authority representatives; two staff representatives; two parents’ representatives; and four community’s representatives.  The Minister is to determine the proportion of members drawn from each local authority by order.  The Minister is to have regard to the relative populations in making that order.   There is provision for the election of staff representatives and panels from whom casual vacancies may be filled.

Each national association of parents may nominate one man and one woman.  Where more than one national association is permitted to nominate, the local authority members and the staff representatives must pick the two parents’ representatives from the four nominees.

The Minister may draw up a list of nominating bodies including business, community interests, education and service providers.  The core Board comprising the local authority members, staff and parent representatives may co-opt four persons from nominees of the Minister.  There are provisions for election, appointment, and the terms of office of the members of the board.

Board members must be Irish citizens, ordinarily resident, and over 18.  The chief executive, senior management and staff members may not stand for election to become members of the Board. Persons who cease to be members of the Board when they cease to be members of the local authority, staff (as the case may be) or have children in an Education and Training Board institution.

Certain other persons are disqualified from membership of the Board including members of the legislature, judges, senior officers of State, persons without a tax clearance certificate, persons imprisoned for more than six months, bankrupt, knowingly in breach of a court order, false expenses claims, breach in confidentiality, perpetrating fraud.  It is an offence to act as a member while disqualified.

There is provision for the expenses of members.  They are governed by regulations.  Members may not attend meetings or events unless Board establishes benefits likely to arise in the interest of the local community are justified relative to cost.  The annual report must contain particulars in respect of costs of attendance at the various types of meetings and events.

Ministerial Control

The Minister may issue legally binding directions to the Board.  The Minister may appoint a person to investigate the performance of an Education and Training Board.  The Board is to be given notice in writing and given the opportunity to make representations.  The Boards are obliged to cooperate with the investigator and furnish information as required.

After consideration of the investigator’s report, the Minister is to notify the Board of its intention to give a direction in relation to the performance of its function.  The Board may make representations before the direction is made.  The Board must comply with the direction.  It may require the Board to enter into arrangements with another board to provide education and training in its functional areas.

Where the Minister believes that the Education and Training Board has failed to comply with the direction or there are serious deficiencies in carrying out of its functions, it may transfer those to the chief executive or another person for up to two years.  The Board has the right to make representations before this proposal is given effect.

The Minister may remove all members of an Education and Training Board if it fails to comply with a direction following a report on its operation; fails to comply with a court order or has refused to submit accounts.  The Board may make representations.


Education and Training Boards may form committees.  Chief executive and members of staff, other than staff representatives may not be members of the committee.  VECs have traditionally established subcommittees to act as boards of management for each school.

The Minister has power in relation to committee’s which act as a board of management’s recognised school, centres for education, education or training facilities or children detention centres, prisons or other public education and training facilities to make directions regarding the rules concerning their composition.  They may provide in particular that committee members must live in the locality.

These Training and Education Board must appoint a finance and education committee.  The Minister may make directions in relation to the composition, appointment and removal of members, meetings, reports etc.

Financial Control

The Minister is to set a provisional expenditure limit as soon as practical in each financial year and to confirm the final limit as soon as possible after that.  Boards may not exceed their financial limits.  The limit may be varied by the Minister.

There the Minister considers the Board may exceed its final limit, he may direct the Board to modify its annual service plan to ensure that the limit is not contravened.  If there is an excess or saving, the Minister may determine how they are dealt with.

Education and Training Boards must prepare an annual service plan.  They must adopt the annual service plan.  It must accord with the budget.  The Minister may require the plan to be modified if it does not meet the policies and objectives of the government.

The Minister may in such cases, direct an Education and Training Board to submit an annual service plan or amend a plan.  The adoption of the service plan is reserved for the members of the Board.

Boards may borrow money subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance and subject to requirements and directions of that Department.  The power to borrow money is a reserved function.

Boards may charge for their service subject to the consent of the Minister.  They may make provision for payment of reduced fees having regard to the method of payment.  Fees may be amended in line with inflation without further ministerial consent.

The legislation sets out financial accounting requirements for Boards and they are required to submit their accounts annually to the Comptroller and Auditor General.  They must act in accordance with the ministerial guidelines and directions in relation to internal audit matters.


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